Friday 16th August, off to Edinburgh with David Miller, Ian McIntyre and Gordon and Neil Johnston for our annual visit to the Festival Fringe. Decided again to travel by train from Lockerbie and Gordon had the foresight to book seats as the 08.15 was packed. Welcome bacon butty at a cafe near the Waverley Station before shuffling round to Captains’ Bar near the Old University for the 11.00 show, “Burns and the Lassies” performed by Alan Foster with songs from Andy Chueng, the well known Chinese/ Scots folk singer. Allan spoke the narrative of Burns’ liaisons with various ladies throughout his life with musical illustrations from Andy. Very well done and enjoyable in an intimate venue which also had bar facilities. Excellent lunch at the ancient White Cockade in the Grassmarket, frequented by the poet, and absorbing the atmosphere in the streets with some outdoor acts and a variety of “street creatures” before wandering down Leith Walk to Valvonna & Crolla’s, an upmarket wine and delicatessen and met old friend and honorary member Ronnie Crichton. The show at 3.00pm at the back of the shop, was “Robert Burns Votes for Scotland” performed by Gill Bowman as Jean Armour and Mark Stephen as Robert Burns, set in the present and featured comments and opinions on Scotland “where she is”. Numerous barbed remarks from “Jean Armour” on her husband’s philandering and intriguing hints on which way Burns would vote in the independence referendum. At the end, the audience was asked to vote and this resulted in a definite, if a trifle unscientific, no. Enjoyed a jar with Ronnie before he caught the bus back to Balerno. Plenty of time before the train at 8.12 so decided to relax in the Guildford Arms, off St. Andrews Square. The return journey was uneventful but made the mistake of not pumping the bilges on the train expecting that the toilet at Lockerbie Station would suffice but neither it, or the public toilet were open and it was only 9.15pm. A veil is drawn over the subsequent event. Apart from that, a super day with lots of interest and the best of company. The following day, attended Ellisland with Mr. McIntyre to meet a party from Dumbarton Burns Club “doing” Dumfries. The visitors arrived on time and Les gave an absorbing talk on the history of the farm with many anecdotes and a viewing of the DVD in the Granary. As a result, the party were behind schedule on arriving at the Globe but were welcomed by John Clark , Dan Cook and Ken McKinnon. After soup and sannys, the ten cent tour was provided including a visit to the Mausoleum when one visitor commented that it looked like a phallic symbol. Anyway, a most enjoyable afternoon with the Dumbarton boys before their High Tea at 5.30pm. Tuesday 20th August, a meeting at the Globe Inn at 3.00pm with planning officials of the Council and reps of local Burns Clubs to hear the amended proposals for the Burns Statue vicinity. Forgetting the customary Council jargon, was reassured to some point and hope that the eventual outcome will enhance the iconic site with Greyfriars Kirk. The Executive Committee meeting on 26th August was good humoured and productive and the price established for the tickets of the season’s functions. Saturday 31st August, privileged to attend the Johnson family’s annual barbecue at their holiday home at Southerness. Superb hospitality and first class comestibles prepared by William and Neil in great company and clement weather.
I will not comment on the practical joke perpetrated by the immediate past president but he will hear shortly from my sillycitor.
Now looking forward to the RBWF annual conference at Glasgow when we will see the installation of our own Jane Brown as president for the ensuing year.